Nicole Ciuppa, RDN
University Teal Pumpkin Project
I was given an incredible opportunity to spread food allergy awareness in my University and want to share the experience with all of you.
My university is not recognized as a food allergy friendly campus which is not what you want to hear when applying to schools. However, I do not dorm and bring my own food everyday so this has never been an issue for me, personally. Dining on campus is another story for another blog post.
I pitched an on campus event idea for food allergy awareness and the Teal Pumpkin Project to the Montclair State Dietetics Organization (MSDO). I wanted nothing more than to share my knowledge and passion for food allergies with my University that did not seem open to accommodating individuals with this life threatening disease. To my delight, MSDO approved and supported the idea and gave me the resources I needed to curate an official, Class I, organization sponsored event. My event was called "Teal Pumpkin Project and Food Allergy Awareness" held Wednesday, October 25, 2017, from 1-3 p.m. in the Student Center Rathskeller.
During the event, the Montclair State University community had the opportunity to paint mini teal pumpkins to take home with them while learning about the Teal Pumpkin Project and why food allergy awareness is crucial on and off campus from myself as well as MSDO member volunteers. I supplied the event with epinephrine auto-injector trainers (both Epi-Pen and Auvi-Q) to further educate students and faculty members on how to use the life saving anaphylaxis treatment. This event was immensely rewarding as most of the event participants had never heard of the Teal Pumpkin Project or seen an epinephrine auto injector. This event helped them to overcome their preconceived fears of touching and using them.
*Click the photo above to see me demonstrate proper Auvi-Q auto-injector administration!*
When I first started college as a freshman, I always wanted to "leave my mark" on campus with a food allergy centered event. Although having no idea what I would do or how I would do it, I remained passionate and determined to make it happen. Never give up on trying to make a difference. Never. It may seem like one person cannot create a movement of great force but that one person can certainly be the force people need to make a change. If an opportunity does not exist never be afraid to create it yourself.
Radiate positivity and light,